1 September 1532 – A big day for Anne Boleyn

Patent Anne Boleyn
The letter patent creating Anne Boleyn as the Marquess of Pembroke.

Sunday 1st September 1532 was a big day for Anne Boleyn, in fact, it was a huge day for her.

In a ceremony at Windsor Castle, Anne Boleyn, daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde, was created Marquis of Pembroke. Letters and Papers gives some details of the ceremony:

“Creacion of lady Anne, doughter to therle of Wilteshier, marquesse of Penbroke.”
Sunday, 1 Sept. 1532, 24 Hen. VIII. The lady was conveyed by noblemen and the officers of arms at Windsor Castle to the King, who was accompanied by the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk and other noblemen, and the ambassador of France. Mr. Garter bore her patent of creation; and lady Mary, daughter to the duke of Norfolk, her mantle of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, and a coronet. The lady Marques, who was “in her hair,” and dressed in a surcoat of crimson velvet, furred with ermines, with strait sleeves, was led by Elizabeth countess of Rutland, and Dorothy countess of Sussex. While she kneeled before the King, Garter delivered her patent, which was read by the bishop of Winchester. The King invested her with the mantle and coronet, and gave her two patents,one of her creation, the other of 1,000l. a year. She thanked the King, and returned to her chamber.
Gifts given by the lady Marques :To Mr. Garter, for her apparel, 8l.; to the Office of Arms, 11l. 13s. 4d. The King gave them 5l.
Officers of Arms present :Garter and Clarencieux, kings; Richmond, Carlisle, and Windsor, heralds; Rougecross, Portcullis, Bluemantle, and Guisnes, pursuivants.”

Not only was this title granted to Anne in her own right, it also came with lands worth over £1,000 (over £300,000 in today’s money) per year. The record in Letters & Papers goes on to give a valuation of her lands:

“Total of the lands of the lady Anne marchioness in Wales, over and above casualties not charged, 710l. 7s. 10d., out of which she is charged to pay by the King’s grants yearly, 199l. 5s. 11d., “which the tallage or knowledge money will discharge for the time; and after that, the fines for the sessions and the customs which be not charged in the value will discharge them.”
Sum of the lands in England : Corry Mallett, Soms., Hundesdon, and Estwyke, Herts, “lands late Philip Pary’s, in Hundesdon,” manors of Stansted, Roydon, Fylollyshall, and Cokkeshall, and Weston next Baldoke (value of each stated separately), 313l. 5s. 3d. Total for England and Wales by the last gift of the King, 1,023l. 13s. 2d.”

Chronicler Edward Hall records that after the ceremony, King Henry VIII met with the French ambassador and “a new league was concluded & sworne” between France and England. The King’s almoner, Dr Foxe, then made “an eloquent oracion in Latin, in praise of peace, love and amitie”. After that, the King returned to the castle for a sumptuous banquet in honour of his sweetheart, Anne Boleyn, and her new title, a title which made her a fitting queen-in-waiting and consort for the couple’s forthcoming trip to Calais to meet Francis I of France.

Notes and Sources

  • Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 5, 1531-1532, 1274:3, 6.
  • Hall, Edward (1809) Hall’s chronicle : containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, J. Johnson, p. 790.

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9 thoughts on “1 September 1532 – A big day for Anne Boleyn”
  1. I’d like to have seen this: just imagine Henry’s court, banners fluttering, jewels flashing, opulently gathered there, all of them in their bestest finery, creating a theatre of state for His Majesty to perform this curious ceremony of Marquess making (above an earl but below a duke). And it’s star player, entering this arena of pageantry most spectacular, is a slender, black-eyed woman with her mantle of long hair glistening darkly over her crimson robe of state. But this lion court, promotion isn’t free: I raise you up in order that you raise up children to me. Stressful way to go about making babies. Still, it must have been, have looked, amazing.

  2. I’ve read different accounts as to how Anne Boleyn would sometimes make an appearance, and she is the only one (in the English court that is) that I’ve read about who actually would wear her hair down her back, flowing freely and kept in place only by a coronet. She must have been a sight to behold, and been very confident in her attractiveness.

    1. I wonder what point her long flowing hair was making – I have divine hair, I’m still unmarried, still a virgin, or none at all? The history of hair is itself very interesting. I was recently reading a chapter synopsis on Hair in Barbara Walker’s ‘The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets’, pages 367/370, (1983), which I find fascinating but wonder if modern women would…? Anyway, Henry with his male-pattern baldness and Anne with her fine head of hair are in stark reproductive contrast, perhaps?

  3. Only queens were allowed to wear their hair loose but Anne liked to wear hers like that more than the pinned up styles, I think it was possibly because she knew it was her most attractive feature, that and her eyes, it was her crowning glory and she liked to make a statement, I agree she must have been a striking looking woman amongst mostly the paler English type roses, they said her hair reached to her knees and at her coronation she again wore it loose with jewels interwoven in it, it’s a pity we have no portraits of her in such attire so we can only guess at how she may have looked.

      1. Yes I remember reading that it was also a symbol of virginity, I bet the grand court ladies looking at Anne were indignant as they thought she was nothing more than a trollop.

  4. I would have loved to see the faces of all the smug lords and ladies, Suffolk in particular who, up to date, thought that they were above Anne Boleyn, now that she, in her own right was being raised to their ranks. Most people watching this did not want Anne to lord it over them, let alone become Queen, many thought that she was getting ahead of herself and resentment amongst the supporters of Queen Katherine and Princess Mary were stirring up trouble to constantly discredit Anne. Now all of these same people were gathered in the court, dressed up to the nines, tight lipped, here to honour this same Anne, who was probably enjoying their discomfort. I suspect that she had eyes for one person in that room, that she really did not care about the feelings or thoughts of anyone else, that she just felt prixe and joy at her elevation to the peerage. The title itself is worthy of note: Pembroke, the title of his father and grandfather passed from Henry to Anne: Pembroke was a royal title…the message could not have been clearer, Anne was being prepared for the crown. The elite audience and noble families supporting her from old and recent nobility must have watched and gulped and been amazed by the turn of events in favour of the King’s lady. The day was indeed a great one for Anne, regal in her purple, loved and raised by the King, her train carried by prestigious ladies, her future husband and King doing the mighty bit, her patent being proclaimed and all present, the two mighty dukes included, bowing in acknowledgement of her raised status and her as an independent female peer. The urge to do a victory dance must have been great. The snooty lords and ladies who had looked down on her would soon bend the knee, for in just over nine months time, Anne Boleyn would be crowned Queen.

  5. To wear the hair loose and more or less uncovered was a rare occurrence, even for a queen. She may have done it to please Henry, or perhaps, simply to defy convention. Could have been any number of reasons, and it maddening to have no idea, really.

    She would have been first in rank in the Boleyn family at this point, effectively its head. She outranked Percy, and other than Norfolk, Suffolk and Fitzroy, pretty much every other man in the kingdom-in her own right. As Bandit Queen points out, Pembroke was a Tudor family title, so there’s little subtlety here. Henry made her a Marquess, planning to make her Queen, and leaving a fallback position if they couldn’t make it to the altar, or make it stick.

    In the end Henry pursued another option. It’s a shame really. I suspect Anne’s influence would have been better than Cromwell’s. At least some of the monastic money would have gone to benefit the people.

  6. I was born in post-war Britain, 1948, in which ‘class’ was a very real thing. There was even a class gulf between my parents. My father addressed my mother in his war letters as “Dear Child”, which probably makes you gasp but wouldn’t have seemed out of place for them, as Plymouth Brethren.
    My sister did a lot of stuff which floated ‘accepted limits’ for the time, for the religion we followed and my father’s bishop-like status as an ‘elder’. I remember it well. It was a part of the revolution in thinking of that time. Patriarchy thought it had never seen the like. The new ‘women’ simply did not accept secondary status. We just fought it on every level, often scandalising womankind themselves. Our most trenchant opponents were women, women invested in the status quo, who thought us simply outrageous.
    Anne Boleyn faced a many headed hydra in her day. The Aristocracy. The church and it’s furious bishops. Everyone invested in the status quo, which is everyone else , per se. She had seen Marguerite in France and other noble women who were inspired by ideas which seemed to hint at a kind of life in which their yearning spirits sensed a freedom which they could only dream of – if they dared to dream at all. So, for me, Anne is a woman of her time who dared to dream this impossible, magnificent dream, of becoming human, of reaching for, of aspiring to, a more human and humane, more real, more accountable truth.
    She was up against ‘conservative opinion’ which is ever green, and always true – to itself.
    The new is always overwhelming to us. We shut our eyes to it. To those who espouse it, we are mercilessly against them. We see them as enemies. And they are. Adapting to change is a merciless process of natural selection. It will wipe us out if we don’t change.
    If ‘we’ are the elite, then we fight to the death. Anne’s death always shocks me. Every May brings a shock. But should it? For this dream maker, this mover and shaker? Should It? Perhaps it should not……….Agree?

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